Arts and Entertainment

Islanders will soon be able to vibe again

One of the island’s newest night-life sensations will return in a matter of weeks after a noise complaint led to a change in venue.

Island Vibes, a weekly celebration of international music and inter-generational interaction, began last December when island residents Sean Matteson, Caitlin Matteson and Heather Wolf approached Pegasus Coffee House about providing a weekly multi-use nightlife spot.

“The island has such rich and inspired individuals, but it doesn’t have enough places to gather,” Wolf said.

So the three of them pieced together a weekly event featuring local and regional DJs, exotic beer, lively dancing and good conversation.

For the first two months, the night was very successful. Every week new people showed up, along with an ever-growing list of regulars. They operated out of Pegasus every Thursday until a complaint from a condo resident derailed their plans. It was the only complaint they received.

The three acknowledged the difficulty of running a lively night in an area surrounded by residential buildings.

“There were extreme limitations of the space,” said Wolf.

Island Vibes operated out of an area with a history of opposing the growth of night-life in the neighborhood.

In 2005, an expansion by the Harbour Public House was challenged in court by local residents. After nearly two years, the homeowners won out and the pub wasn’t able to expand.

Wolf said they want to avoid any animosity with the neighbors.

“We don’t want to be in a location that would bother other people,” she said.

Since the complaint, Wolf said, the three founders of Island Vibes talked with the neighbor and smoothed things over.

“We’re grateful to be in direct communication with the tenants in the community,” Wolf said. “After the conversation we became allies.”

Wolf added that they were searching for a new venue even before the complaint.

During their time at Pegasus, Wolf and the Mattesons worked hard to keep the events simultaneously lively and quiet. They made sure the doors remained closed at all times, and they kept the music at a low volume.

With a deal in the works for a new location, the group will be able to loosen their oversight of the night.

Sean Matteson said Island Vibes provides a way for all groups on the island to have a common gathering place. The presence of young people loosens up some of the older patrons, while the older people have a chance to interact with younger generations.

“To have the fresh enthusiasm of young people, it’s a social lubricant for the older people,” Sean Matteson said.

Every week Sean and Caitlin Matteson serve as house DJs, playing a blend of music, which Wolf described as an “eclectic mix of international world grooves.”

But the music isn’t so overpowering that people lose the ability to socialize. And for those who don’t enjoy dancing or socializing, or maybe just need a little something to loosen them up, Island Vibes features a rare collection of international beers.

The presence of alcohol during Island Vibes didn’t squash the friendly atmosphere. People who came to drink on those nights were connoisseurs, there to sample rare brews, not people looking to get drunk.

“By bringing in fine ales, it takes away excessive drinking,” Caitlin Matteson said.

“It’s one of the least likely night events where a fight would break out,” her brother Sean Matteson added.

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